Retainers are the appliances that keep the teeth straight at the end of a course of orthodontic treatment.
What are retainers?
A retainer is a type of brace that's used to ensure your teeth remain straight once you've had a course of straightening treatment. They can be either fixed or removable.
How do fixed retainers work?
Fixed retainers are fitted to the backs of your front teeth. They are made from thin wires that help to make sure your front teeth stay straight. Your orthodontist will likely recommend fixed retainers if you've had a particularly significant change to your teeth to align them, as in this circumstance the chance of your teeth moving back is higher.
How do removable retainers work?
Once you've completed your straightening treatment, a bespoke retainer can be created. Your orthodontist will recommend how you should wear it, but more often than not removable retainers are worn overnight to keep your teeth aligned.
How long should I wear it for?
How long you need to wear your retainer for will depend on your individual needs. Your orthodontist will be able to give you tailored advice, but you'll generally need to wear your retainer for at least a year.
When should I wear it?
This is something your orthodontist will advise on, as it depends on how much your teeth have moved throughout the straightening process. You might have a fixed retainer that cannot be removed, or you may only need to wear your retainer at night.
How do I clean it?
To clean a removable retainer, we recommend use a retainer cleaner solution which is available from your dentist. Alternatively rinse under the tap and gently brush it with your toothbrush. Don't use toothpaste to clean it as this may damage it, and always keep it in its protective case while you're not wearing it.
You can find out more information about retainers and how they work on the British Orthodontic Society website.
Get in touch with your local Bupa Dental Care (formerly Oasis Dental Care) practice today to find out more about straightening treatments.